Champions League

Draw for Champions League: Title holder in group of death

Photo: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

The draw for the 2018/19 Champions League Main Round was held in Barcelona today. The 12 clubs which have wild cards were split into two groups.

Two big Spanish water polo stars Felippe Perone and Daniel Lopez “handled”the balls from the “pots”, The two can be satisfied with the outcome. Their club Barceloneta will compete in Group A. On the first eye, Group B seems much stronger than Group A.

Three recent European champions will play in Group B: title holder Olympiacos (Greece), 2017 champion Szolnok and Jug, which won the 2015/16 CHL. Besides, only three available spots for the Final Eight are in this group. Hannover (Germany), a technical host of the Final Eight (June, 6 – 8) will play in this group too. As a host, Hannover is already qualified for the F8. German champion Spandau 04 and newcomer Mladost, which formed pretty good squad for the upcoming season, are also in Group B.

Pro Recco, with a new coach Ratko Rudic, and Barceloneta are favorites in Group A. They will run a race towards Hannover along with Eger (Hungary), Dynamo Moscow (Russia), Steaua Bucharest (Romania) and newcomer Crvena Zvezda (Red Star), which was the European champion in 2013, but it doesn’t have so strong team in this season. Zvezda’s biggest trump card is Dejan Savic, a head coach, who led the club towards the trophy in the 2013 Champions League. As Serbia’s head coach, Savic won 2016 Olympic gold, one gold at the World Championships, three European gold medals…

Group B will see encounter between three European champions from the period 2013 – 2015: Red Star (2013), Barceloneta (2014), Pro Recco (2015).

But, the real qualities of both groups will be known early in October, when the groups will be complete with four winners of the the Qualification Round 3 matches (to be played on 6th and 10th October). Some very good teams will enter the qualifications. Among them are 2018 LEN Euro cup winner and Hungarian champion Ferencvaros (Hungary), Brescia (Italy), Jadran (Montenegro)…

2018/19 Champions League, main round

A group

Pro Recco (Italy)
Barceloneta (Spain)
Eger (Hungary)
Dynamo Moscow (Russia)
Steaua Bucharest (Romania)
Crvena Zvezda/Red Star (Serbia)
winner QR3 D
winner QR3 A

B group

Olympiacos (Greece)
Jug Dubrovnik (Croatia)
Szolnok (Hungary)
Spandau 04 Berlin (Germany)
Waspo Hannover (Germany)
Mladost Zagreb (Croatia)
winner QR3 C
winner QR3 B

Schedule for the 1st round (17 October)

 

 

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